Friday, July 31, 2015

TWTW - the spontaneous shore weekend

Last Friday morning I was sitting at my desk staring down the bottom of my iced coffee, already waiting on 5 p.m. even though I had no solid plans for the weekend aside from sweet sweet freedom. I checked my email and found one from a little shore motel in Stone Harbor. I had halfheartedly looked around for rooms earlier in the week, fully expecting everyone to be booked up, which they were. It is the Jersey shore in July, after all. But what was this gift? A cancellation at the Lark Motel. I frantically dialed MFD and even Mr. Last Minute MFD had a little I have work to do I can't just go freakout. Then he realized there was WiFi and he was all in. So I did something I never do - made a last minute decision to go away for the weekend. Cross another off the 40 before 40. Even though I'd thought about it earlier, I had no clothes laid out, nothing packed, no dog care set up, no food bought, no fresh pedicure, no laundry done, no food prepped for the week. I'd be starting from scratch when I got home at 6. Sometimes you just have to say fuck it, right? So we did. We threw everything in the car, hit Wawa and DD, and took the back roads with the windows down and sang our hearts out.
Before I go any further, I need to take a minute to appreciate being at a place in life where we can drop it all and go to the shore at the last minute. After many years of struggling along, there's not one minute of the day that I don't thank my stars that we are where we are right now. Both of us have busted our asses and sweated blood to get here and the hard work is not over, but it was and is worth it. We are fortunate. I am grateful. And on nights like Friday so grateful I almost cry.

I know, I know, just get to the photos, right? Both of us have been going to the shore every summer for our whole lives and neither of us have ever stayed in Stone Harbor as adults. The impetus to stay there this weekend was pure convenience - MFD's stringband had a concert there Saturday night. The Lark ended up being a three minute walk from where the concert would be. Kismet. It's a cute, sleepy little town where people look dressed up even though they're being casual.

Around Stone Harbor...
Saturday morning sunrise...
Ferko concert...
Saturday beach scenes - I spent over 10 hours on the beach Saturday. Glorious. A seagull took swooped in and took part of my sandwich after I nearly murdered people in hanger (which is why MFD is eating his under the umbrella below like Farnsworth Bentley) and people sat right on top of me, but it was still just a glorious day.
Weekend food was basically iced coffee, pizza, and ice cream. 
Sunday we did a little shopping and Farmers Marketing in Stone Harbor before driving over to Sea Isle so we could spend the day on the beach with the Sannellis.
Sunday beach day in Sea Isle, in which the Diva was the star attraction of course...
Sunday night we were supposed to leave around 8. MFD was fishing down at the inlet late, which left me to go to La Costa with Frank and Amanda. MFD joined us for a red bull, and we decided to go see a bit of LeCompt at the Springfield. I was in my bathing suit the whole time because MFD had the car and all of my stuff in it so I couldn't shower. Welp! It ended up being a good night anyway. Thankful for a sober driver who did the long haul home after midnight so I could enjoy a night out at the shore.

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I finished a book and started another. I saw a sunrise Saturday but slept in until 8 on Sunday. I spent a lot of time just being. And that was great. Thanks to Mindy for watching our dogs last minute and to the universe for all things good.

I'm happy I got that in just in time for another weekend to begin. That should always be the way, shouldn't it?

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July Recommendations

Hello hello friends! You know the drill. Skimmers, recommendations are in bold (and typically clickable). Kelli from Kellibeans and my long-time friend Frank (his birthday is today!) are joining me for recommendations this month.

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1. KIND Vanilla Blueberry Bars - When I was waiting for my diabetes test results I was looking for something sweet but not sugary or heavy in starch. I found the KIND Vanilla Blueberry bars and fell instantly in love. Made with 5 super grains and sweetened with Vanilla and Tapioca they're the perfect healthy treat.
via Kind website

2. Fresh Fruits and Veggies From the Farmer's Market - Not only is fresh much better than anything found in your grocery store produce section, helping support your local farm community is important. Buy fresh and buy local whenever possible even if it costs a little bit more.

3. Bath and Body Works Oahu Coconut Sunset - When BBW discontinued coconut breeze I had to find a new summery scent. With a little bit of amber added in the musky yet summery scent is perfect for after beach showers. 

4. Mary Kay at Play triple layer tinted lip balm - One of my new friends sells Mary Kay so even though I'm not a huge make up person I wanted to support her endeavor by ordering something. This lip balm leaves lips feeling soft but not too heavy or waxy and the light hint of color is perfect for summer. It smells good too!

5. A Library Card - Everyone is always concerned with exercising their bodies but what about your minds? The library offers tons of mind exercise for free, whether e-books, audio books, or the real thing are what you crave most libraries offer a little bit of it all.

1. It is the best site for buying strings for instruments that are on the more rare side. It's impossible to find good banjo strings in retail music stores.

2. Snark SN-8 Super-tight all-instrument tuner. Snark tuners are the absolute best tuners when there are 50 horns blaring and you need to tune your banjo/guitar.
3. Bruno's Pizza & Restaurant in Haddonfield, NJ. Bruno's is a great local italian restaurant near us. It's small and hard to park near but it is worth every penny. Bruno is an awesome host and the seafood is as fresh as down the shore.

4. Summer Infant Pop n' Play Portable Playard. This play pen has made our trip to Sea Isle with a one year old unbelievably pleasant. It folds up in minutes and is light and lets in plenty of shore breezes.
5. Luther on Netflix. It is well-acted, full of suspense and the characters are all insane.

1. Reusable cold brew coffee filter pouches. I'm not sure I can describe how much easier these little ditties have made cold brewing my own coffee at home. No more messy straining and fighting against cheese cloth. No more inability to make cold brew coffee when I travel. As long as there's a refrigerator, I'm all set. There was much wringing of hands before my trip to Emerald Isle until I found this solution to my how to get my cold coffee made there problem. 

2. eBags slim packing cubes. I'm into the packing cubes in general right now, and I'm about to color code my entire next trip but for now the only ones I've used are the slim packing cubes and they are awesome. 

3. The Naked Bee Lavender & Beeswax Lotion. This feels like a fucking dream, and it smells like one too. It's a little pricey but quite soothing. The pomegranate version is not too bad, but for the love of god do whatever you need to do to avoid the orange blossom honey version. I haven't smelled the sandalwood. Use at your own risk.

4. Lucky Brand Betwixt Bootie. I bought two things from the Nordie's anniversary sale and these were one of them. They arrived and I put them on and proceeded to parade around my home Tuesday night in booty shorts that never see the light of day and these booties that will see plenty of days. I'm sure I looked ridiculous (and sorry for the crap photos) but the bottom line is these suckers are comfortable. Like, more so than a lot of my flats. They have a lot of cushion and I hope they don't lose that as I wear the shit out of them this fall. 
Thanks to Kelli & Fronk for joining me this month. Let us hear yours! What are you recommending this month? Oh yes, I'm also recommending you enter to win $25 giftcard to Amazon. Anyone can win so step right up.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I'm going through a phase.

It's here. It's the unwelcome guest that darkens my doorstep every summer: the fuck it phase (FIP). Fuck the housework, the laundry, the schedules, the exercise, the healthy eating, the matching clothes, the organizing, the food prep, the responsibilities, the blog schedule...fuck it all. Let the go with the flow laziness reign free.

The FIP is punctuated by weekends away, languid conversations next to large bodies of water, clothing that's almost beyond casual, sweating bottles of beer, careening through the dark night in the Pinelands and the Vinelands with the windows down and the music loud, casually discarded flip flops, sunglasses at night, and lightening bugs. It feels a little lazy, a little reckless, a little not quite on the level.

For these few weeks of the FIP, I am adrift at sea without a planner. I say yes without thinking. I go away for the weekend without making a plan or a packing list. I go three days without eating veggies. I skip the third weight workout of the week. I take naps. I leave my phone in hotel rooms and don't go back to get it. I stay out late on a Sunday night drinking beers and listening to live music, still in my bathing suit when we finally arrive home at 2:45 in the morning. I forget to download pics from my camera. I don't fully unpack from my trips. I don't edit myself when I over-write. I don't know what time it is. I let shit pile up in the basement room and don't put it where it belongs. I don't meal plan. I throw my hands in the air and wave 'em like I just don't care. I  lay it all down and leave it there, shaking off the shackles of a responsible life.

Basically, I engage in or allow all manner of things I hate. It's like I have a doppelganger who runs on opposite juice. I'm arguably a lot less uptight and Type A these few weeks than I am normally, which I'm sure people around me like. I fight to keep summer and its ways out, but once it seeps in I try to embrace it. Summer is fleeting, after all. I can't take it for long, but it is a little fun while it lasts. I'll snap out of this soon, but not this week...because, fuck it. So when you see a TWTW post about last weekend this Friday before another weekend is about to begin, just act cool and go with it. Like you saw a rare and magical unicorn or something, because you basically did.

The haiku: not safe.
I'm like fuck it, don't wanna.
Yawning as we speak. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Currently - July


L I S T E N I N G ... to The Bridge or E-Street Radio on Sirius if I'm in the car.

W A T C H I N G ... Going Clear on HBO - the documentary that profiles eight former members of Scientology. That shit is crazy. For real. I've been meaning to watch it but forgot so I owe thanks to Heather for reminding me!

R E A D I N G ... Another Beatriz Williams - Tiny Little Thing. This is the third year in a row she's graced my summer with a good book. Thanks B.

C O O K I N G ... Not much. I've pretty much entered the summer cooking season, in which I grill or bake a protein and serve it with a salad: green, tomato and red onion, caprese, or cucumber. Dunzo.

D R I N K I N G ...  I was lured into trying the very berry hibiscus refresher at Starbucks with a rewards card, which is the adult version of being lured into a scary white van with candy. It was quite refreshing. 

W A N T I N G ... to spend some time this weekend corralling my electronics. I have gadgets all over right now. I want to make sure I know exactly what I'm going to be using to take 498 trillion photos of our Wild West trip.

N E E D I N G ... to schedule a massage. Once upon a time I signed up to get monthly massages then promptly did not get one for the next four months. It's time. Self-care is important.

W O R K I N G   O N ... a mid-season wardrobe assessment to see what I've worn and not worn this summer. At the end of the season, whatever has not been worn is given away.

E N J O Y I N G ...  My monthly lunch dates with Jana - my college friend, blogger at Jana Says, and co-host of the Show Us Your Books linkup (the next one is August 11). Since school is out, her daughter joined us this week! Her mom asked for her permission to appear on my blog so we're all set. She's very funny and smart and even contributed to our book talk. She's a natural fit. Unfortunately I didn't check my pic after I took it and her pretty eyes are closed here. That's what I get for not checking. We'll get a better one next time! Or she'll have to join the sunglasses club, where no one knows if your eyes are open or not.

What's going on with you?

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Linking up with Kristin and

Stuff, Things, etc.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

In my midnight confessions...when I say all the things that I want to

I don't mind encountering small to medium grade douchebags because there's usually fun in recounting the tale.

I can't let an actual sleeping dog lie - I have to pet it or hug it or kiss it, which of course wakes the dog up.

Shit has been piling up in our basement room that is a catch all for the house and Summer Steph has been dealing with that. And by dealing with that, I mean that Summer Steph doesn't give a shit about de-cluttering the basement and putting things away because that B is lazy.

When the weather is as awful liquid hot magma hot and take your breath away humid like it's been this week, I feel like going back in time and round house kicking everyone who prayed for summer.

Have I mentioned that while I love things about each season, summer is my least favorite? I know, only the not-fun kids dislike summer. I'm okay with it.

If you post a photo of the temperature of your car, even if I love you more than life, I dislike you a lot as soon as I see that photo. It's fleeting, but the dislike is there.

Harry Potter references annoy me.

I've been eating ice cream more often than I've not been eating ice cream and you can tell.

I left my planner at work over last weekend because I didn't feel like lugging it on the plane with me. I felt like a part of me was missing and kept panicking a little on Sunday.

After watching Lost Boys for the zillionth time on Sunday night, I spent a solid 35 minutes thinking about how I'd deal with an influx of vampires in my life.

What do you have to share with the class today?

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Shit MFD Said Vol 20

MFD: These new glasses are a little big.
Me: A little.
MFD: I look like The Fly.
Me: laughing
MFD: Welp I'm going to look like The Fly at the shore. Great, in all the pictures too and you take a million.
Me: laughing harder
MFD: They're not as bad as the lady glasses I ordered and thought they were men's. 
Me: True. 
MFD: bzzt bzzzt The Fly. Or Deniro at the end of Goodfellas. Deniro Fly.
Driving back from a concert
MFD: Is your phone plugged in?
Me: Yes.
MFD:  All Biggie songs?
Me: They're not mine.
MFD: Oh my God there's a CD in there. I think I bought a drug dealer's car. Did I ever show you the routes?
Me: No. I don't want to know. Okay...what routes?
MFD: Drug dealing routes, looks like. In the GPS history. This is like an episode of COPs in this car.

Leaving the pier
MFD: Smell that sunscreen! Smells like the beach.
Me: It's my perfume. It's called Beach.
MFD: Why don't you just wear sunblock if you like the smell?
Me: No. This is nice perfume you know.
MFD: Seems like it would be easier. Cheaper too. 
Me: Just drive.

On July 4
MFD:  I got an American hoagie.
Me: Yeah? 
MFD: Yeah. Because it's AMERICA'S birthday.
Me: Of course.

Looking for flip flops
MFD: Where are they? I moved them but I don't know where.
Me: Not sure. 
Goes downstairs to rummage around 
MFD: Well I found these glasses under the couch.
Me: Glasses.
MFD: Yeah.
Me: Under the couch. 
MFD: Yeah. 
Me: I'm not even going to ask.

Eating an ice cream cone
MFD: This chocolate is boss.
Me: Boss?
MFD: Boss.
Me: Where did you get that word, '88?

Monday, July 20, 2015

TWTW - the one with New England

Way back before spring even started, I booked a flight to Boston to see my BFF Kim. I lost sight of the trip in the coming months, and then it was here before I knew it. I sort of love when that happens. I hopped a train from work to the airport and was in Boston in what seemed like minutes. Who buys a mug of their own town at the airport before they even leave the city? That would be me.
There's nothing like the comfort of old friends, is there? The ease of being around each other, the lively conversations punctuated by comfortable silences, the joy in doing absolutely nothing together. Laura and I have been friends for 26 years and Kim and I for 23, and it's been well over 10 years since any of us lived in even close to the same zip code. Not more than a day goes by without me talking to them via text and email but we don't see each other face to face often so when we can, I absolutely love it. Friday we just shot the shit at Kim & Steve's. Saturday morning we fueled up with DD and headed up to Ogunquit, Maine. What a cute town. After getting more coffee, we walked about a mile along the Marginal Way. 
The coast of Maine is rugged and beautiful. It seems to have it all - endless sky, ocean, beach, greenery, and rock. 
We came out of the Marginal Way into Perkins Cove and were leisurely ladies who lunch at Jackie Too's. The food and views were excellent as was the company, of course. I knocked a 40 before 40 off of my list - eat a lobster roll in Maine. Three cheers for best friends who support your weird list quests. It was excellent. I've had lobster rolls before but Maine's are famous for a reason. The Seadog blueberry wheat beer (brewed in Maine) and the blueberry pie made with local blueberries were the cherries on addition to the salt scrub we all tried in the bathroom and had to have that Laura then had to repackage on my behalf so I could take it on the plane. She was doing hers and knowing me as she does knew I would not have the patience for such things. 
We strolled around Perkins Cove, in and out of shops and checking out the boats. 
We also dipped leisurely in and out of shops back in the center of town. I totally enjoyed the tempo of this town - laid back, a little funky and arty, and just beautiful. Quite picturesque. I could not believe the flowers everywhere and all of the color. 
After a thoroughly enjoyable day on the Maine coast, we headed back to Mass to check out Kim & Steve's new house before digging into some Italian at Pomodoro in Brookline. We tired our asses out and ended the night with relaxing and Step Brothers, which I have never seen and which I found to be hilarious. I need to see it uncut like immediately. 
All good things must come to an end. I was home by two on Sunday and spent the afternoon inside with the dogs, away from the hellacious humidity. MFD got me flowers from the Farmers' Market since that was his errand this weekend. We had hoagies for a late lunch and I did a bunch of unpacking and hausfrauing and setting the house to rights. 
Weekly food prep: scrambled eggs with green onion and cheese and power breakfast muffins for breakfast; salads and leftovers for lunches; baby carrots, bananas, and greek yogurt for snacks; tomato and red onion salad, baked chicken leg quarters (I was going to grill them but Sunday was melt your skin off hot), salads, and enchiladas for dinners. 

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I truly loved this weekend. What about you?

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Linking up with Biana at B Loved Boston for Weekending

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